This afternoon we piled everyone in the van and headed to Raleigh to Sacred Heart Cathedral for the first High Mass held there in likely 40 years. I heard about it on the Internet at the blog Summorum Pontificum, which links to all things related. Weighted down with 5 missals, a sippy cup, a baggie of Cheerios, several rosaries, and a tiny photo album chock-full of holy cards we slipped in the door 30 minutes before Mass was to begin. We have found it prudent over the years to get to any Mass early if we want to all sit together. By 4:20 there wasn't a single seat left and people filled the vestibule and lined the outer walls. It seems a great many came out of curiosity since less than 1/3 of the women wore a veil and many folks didn't seem to be able to follow the order of the Mass. I tried to help one older lady in front of me find her place in a missal she obviously had been given for the occasion, but after 20 minutes she and her friend seemed to give up in frustration and left.
The beauty of the Cathedral seemed made for this evening. The stars on the ceiling seemed to sparkle extra brightly as the choir, brought in from Sacred Heart parish, sang the Kyrie and Credo in harmonious chant. The organ seemed to belt out with extra vigor the Sanctus, and the parishioners sang with gusto the Processional, We Three Kings. The bishop gave a short homily, mentioning that starting tomorrow 15 diocesan priests will be training to say the Extraordinary Form. He said that he thinks the Pope would be pleased at the generosity of these priests to provide the TLM throughout the diocese of Raleigh. While next month's High Mass likely will not be quite so grand, with 5 priests and the bishop in attendance, or so crowded, it will continue to be the most perfect offering that man has ever given to God. I am grateful to have participated in this historic occasion, but more pleased at the possibility that the Mass of the Ages will spread and touch many more hearts than just those tonight.